Water’s Edge Dog Center has something for every dog

Dan Rode, owner of Water’s Edge Dog Center just west of Buffalo, has nearly 30 years experience training dogs.

Some he’s trained for competition, like Bronson and Bo, two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers who earned awards at the Westminster Dog Show, but the majority of dog owners he instructs at Water’s Edge are there to learn basic obedience and socialization skills.

“Most people who come here are just looking to have a well-behaved, social pet,” he said.


With more than 37 acres of land at his disposal, plus an indoor and outdoor training facility, Rode is equipped to offer a variety of classes all year long at Water’s Edge. Hundreds of dogs go through his programs each year and have been doing so since 2003 when he first opened. Since those early days he’s expanded quite a bit. He now has four other instructors who teach classes that cover everything from basic obedience and puppy training to agility and flyable.

“There is some type of class here five days a week all year round,” Rode said. “And my instructors are some of the best in the area. They all have years of experience training and competing with their dogs and they have all been here at Water’s Edge for several years.”

For puppies Water’s Edge offers two key classes: socialization and obedience as well as puppy agility.

Puppy agility is offered mainly as another way to get new puppies out for some confidence building and social activities.

“It’s not necessarily meant to prepare them for competition, but it’s a great activity for dogs mentally and physically,” Dan said.

Puppy obedience is geared toward the pet owner. Instructors will help owners teach their dogs basic commands like sit, stay, come, and healing on a leash. The class also addresses issues such as biting, chewing, house breaking and crate training.

“We are here to answer any questions new dog owners have,” he said.

From there, owners can continue their pet’s training with beginner, intermediate and advanced obedience classes. If owners are looking to compete with their dogs, these classes will help them learn the skills to train and prepare for competition.

If you have an older dog, you can go directly into the beginner obedience class. This is for dogs five months and older; there is no age limit to start. If you adopt an older dog, they can participate.

Water’s Edge also offers agility training. Agility is a popular dog sport where owners direct their dogs through fun and challenging obstacles such as jumps, tunnels, teeters, weave poles, A-frames and more. “While some compete in this fun sport, many come to build on their bond with their dog while keeping them physically and mentally challenged year round,” Rode said.

Water’s Edge offers all levels of agility training from puppy to advanced competition training.
Flyball is a fun, fast-paced relay race sport Water’s Edge offers to its clients with more active dogs. The game involves dogs racing in teams of four side-by-side, jumping over hurdles, retrieving a tennis ball and returning to its owner.

Flyball takes place most Saturday mornings.


Water’s Edge offers boarding for dog owners who are going on a trip and just can’t take their four-legged family member with them. Dogs come for short- and long-term stays.
With a unique kennel system that offers privacy between dogs, a raised floor keeping them off the hard, cold concrete, and 10 outside areas to exercise with seven-foot high privacy fences, visitors to Water’s Edge are sure to have a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

In addition to privacy, the dogs stay in a heated and air conditioned building, but are given plenty of time to play outside together.

“We know that not all dogs can be out with other dogs, so having 10 yards allows for safe separation and long periods of time outside without rotations,” Rode said.

Families of more than one dog can stay in the same kennel and owners have the benefit of multi-dog discounts.

Water’s Edge also has some of the most flexible pick-up and drop-off hours of any kennel in the area. Attendants are on site seven days a week to work with customers.

They typically take appointments as early as 8 a.m., and since they often have dogs out late, they can work past 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. for drop-offs and pick-ups.

All they ask is that pick-up and drop-off times are scheduled before hand.

While they have plenty of room at Water’s Edge, they suggest making an appointment as far in advance as possible, especially over the holidays, including spring break. They also understand things come up on short notice and are happy to accommodate in these situations.


Rode is also currently a breeder of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers and has bred Labrador Retrievers (mostly chocolate). He welcomes people to contact him to learn more about the Tollers.


Rode started training his first dog nearly 30 years ago. It all started by having a dog and knowing he wanted it trained, he said. That first dog he trained for basic obedience. A few years later he got another dog and knew he wanted to go further with training, to teach her to be the best-trained dog he could.

“I knew I wanted to give as much to my dog as she would give to me,” he said.

He started taking classes at a facility in Plymouth and just kept taking classes, he said. Eventually he started training for competition obedience and flyball. Knowing he wanted to breed he decided to get involved in field training and participating in hunt tests.

“If I’m going to breed a hunting/retrieving breed, I want to know that besides being healthy and having great temperaments, my dogs can also do the job for which they are bred,” Rode said.

In 2003, the training facility Rode was training at near Buffalo closed, providing an opportunity to fill a need.

Over the years his business has grown and expanded to what it is today. Rode still competes with his dogs on a regular basis in conformation, obedience, flyball, hunt tests and, on occasion, takes them locally to an assisted living facility to visit the residents.

For more information on Water’s Edge Retrievers, visit www.watersedgeretrievers.com